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徐虹:再谈中国语境下的现实主义
发表:2011-05-10 10:10阅读:1107

 

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徐虹:再谈

中国语境下的现实主义

采访人_涤  非

库艺术(以下简称库):“现实主义艺术”随着西方文化进入中国后,经历了哪几个发展阶段?各自呈现出怎样的社会意义?

徐虹(以下简称徐):现实主义进入中国经历了不同阶段——20世纪初、20世纪50年代、文革以及20世纪80年代至今。每一个阶段的环境与人们对现实主义的认识皆不同,所以对这三个阶段的“现实主义”自然就有不同的面貌和评价。“现实主义艺术”是一种复杂、模糊的艺术现象,而它在中国的发展过程中又加注了不同的因素。从本质上讲,中国从来没有原封不动地全部照搬接受西方文化中的“现实主义”,由于中国的语境,它已经被改造和重新解释了。比如,在20世纪前期,当时的社会气氛要求艺术家关注民主、关注现实,希望中国社会往公正和民主方向发展,而艺术家描写底层人民的生活,描写灾难和战乱带给人们的痛苦和混乱,描写边疆地区的风土人情,都成为那个时代“现实主义艺术”的主要特征。而中华人民共和国建立以后,出于政治斗争和社会主义建设的需要,从社会主义现实主义发展到“革命现实主义和革命浪漫主义的结合”,要表现工农兵,突出领袖和政党的丰功伟绩,并对社会生活作歌颂性描述。在形式上,从通俗的写实逐渐发展到“红光亮”,这就成为那个时期“现实主义艺术”的特色。到了20世纪70年代末和20世纪80年代初,对于文革的反思开始,艺术家开始面向真实的人性和人情,面向真实的社会现实,将“实践是检验真理的唯一标准”等新的思维方式推向艺术创作与艺术批评,这正是这一阶段“现实主义艺术”的内在要求。

库:为什么“现实主义艺术”在中国能够成为一种主流艺术?

徐:这是一个很大的问题,不是三言两语说得清楚的。描写生活现实,描写与普通人实际生活相联系的人和环境,最容易吸引观众的视线,因为看这类艺术,感觉亲切而不必拐弯抹角。一切已经被安排好了,被规定好了,观众只要表示同意和接受就可以了。这样的艺术风格与现实越逼真,就越有教化力量。所以,历史上的宗教题材以及“教化”艺术都需要用这类“现实”的风格,这种风格有利于向大众进行传播。回顾中国20世纪的社会变换和发展,重点在于要发动民众进行社会革命和建设,这是一个巨大的任务,需要全民总动员。所以,革命政党选择“现实主义艺术”作为“团结人民,教育人民”的工具和手段,是一种必然。关键是对于“现实主义”的理解,如上所述,不同的阶段和不同的社会环境,对“现实主义”的解释和表达是不同的。

库:以王广义为代表的“政治波普”思潮通过对文革时期现实主义作品形象的再创作,达到一种嘲讽和消解的目的,为什么艺术家喜欢通过对现实主义作品进行再分解或者再改造,从而达到一种对政治、社会的看法?

徐:可以看作是对文革政治符号的挪用和再解释,是对当时的广告符号进行分解和重新组合。很难说挪用的是“现实主义作品”,这是对“现实主义作品”的定义不同。这会造成对作品的解释不同,涉及现实的针对性问题。

库:现实批判的语境是否会遭遇限制,家丑是否可以外扬?比如以政治、社会问题为创作题材的艺术家,把一些国家内的问题拿到国际的大环境去展示和批判,有人说他们是战士,有人说他们是小丑,您又是怎么看待的?

徐:现实问题批判会遭遇限制。作为有个性的艺术家来说,他们可以有自己的选择角度和表现方式。可以评价艺术家的作品做得好或不好,但是否是小丑是另外一种评价标准,我觉得不能作为一个艺术批评的尺度。艺术家有个性化表达的权利,但是表达好或不好,别人接受或不接受将有待历史来评价。

库:每个人都脱离不开社会环境的影响,艺术家是发出时代声音的喉舌,您怎么看“80后”艺术家?

徐:我策划的一些展览中也选了一些“80后”的艺术家,我觉得有些艺术家还是不错的,他们对历史和现实有自己的看法,他们在形式语言上也是吸取了各种资源,也会关注美术史的上下文。总体来说,他们当然还有一段比较长的路要走。对历史的体验与认识不能在很短时间内完成,根据对历史的洞察,他们还将不断地创造自己的艺术价值,所以要真正成为大师级的艺术家大概需要一段时间。关键在于他们能否坚持下去、能否不为市场左右、不为风尚左右,坚持不断思考、不断质问。我觉得中国艺术家如何能成为真正的当代问题的反思者,批判特性是必不可少的,否则就会被市场氛围所笼罩,那就没有希望了。

库:“80后”艺术家比较注重自我的现实,自己内心的现实,对自我的审视也是当代现实主义精神的一种表现,您是如何看这种文化现象的?您是否可以梳理一下这背后的历史原因?

徐:现实主义有两个特点,一个是真实表达现实,一个是真实表达自己。真实表达自己也是现实主义的一个方面,而且自我是无法脱离社会语境的。因为社会问题对艺术家有所刺激,他将这种刺激,通过情感的形式表达出来。如何表达得更清晰、更强有力,更具有感染力,也是一种评价的尺度。因为从现实主义范围来说,艺术本身是通过个人来表达的,现实不会在每一个人心目中一模一样,画家无法只用一种眼光去表现现实。所以现实主义也必然是个体的或个性的表达。

库:中国语境下的现实主义要怎样继续发展下去?

徐:对于“现实主义”我们也还要不断反思,在中国的“现实主义艺术状态”是怎么样的?它的具体表现有没有问题?我想必须是建立在反思的基础上进行考察和判断。没有反思就没有建构,如果回顾中国曾经有过前述那三种状态的“现实主义艺术”,可以看到我们实际存在的“现实主义艺术”和我们应该有的“现实主义艺术”的距离。我们可以进行讨论,每一个艺术家可以通过对这个问题的思考来推进认识,等到他们都有了回答,他们的作品面貌也就出现了,我们也将看到这种回答的结果,但是前提就是要进行历史性反思。

   

 

XU HONGMORE ABOUT REALISM UNDER THE CONTEXT OF CHINA

INTERVIEWER_DI FEI

Kuart (hereafter referred to as KU): after realism art entered China together with western cultures, how many stages did it experience in its development? What social significances did various stages show?

Xu Hong (hereafter referred to as XU): realism has been developing into different stages in China, i.e. early 20th century, 1950s, the culture revolution and 1980s, and the last two decades. Since the environment of each stage is different and people’s understanding of realism varies, consequently realism shows different characteristics and evaluations at three different stages. Realism art is a kind of complicated, ambiguous artistic phenomenon, and different elements were injected in its development in China. Essentially, China never copy and accept the realism of western cultures unaltered, and under Chinese context, it has been transformed and reinterpreted. For example, in early 20th century, under that social atmosphere, artists were required to focus on democracy and reality with the hope that China was developing toward justice and democracy. Thus, under the brushes of artists, it was the lives of underclass, miseries and disorders brought along by disasters and wars, conditions and customs of border areas, which were the characteristics of realism that time. After the foundation of the People's Republic of China, as required by political fighting and socialist construction, socialist reality evolved into the combination of revolutionary realism and revolutionary romanticism, which gave priority to workers, peasants and soldiers, highlighted the great achievements of leaders and political party, and praised the community life. In the form, popular realism gradually developed into “red and bright”, which was the characteristic of realism that time. At the end of 1970s and early 1980s, as reflected the Cultural Revolution, artists began turning to real humanity, real feelings and actual social reality. New modes of thinking were injected into artistic creation and criticism, e.g. practice is the sole criterion for testing truth, and it was the inherent need of realist arts that time.

KU: What made realist art a mainstream art in China?

XU: This is a huge question, and no one can explain it in one or two words. What can attract the audiences' view most easily, it is the description of real life, the people and environment around the real life of ordinary people, for this kind of art feels amiable and is able to get down to the point. Everything is established and well-planned, and what audiences can do is just to agree and accept. The more vivid the artistic style is, the powerful the indoctrination can be. Therefore, in history, religious subjects and “indoctrination” arts all need the reality style, which is easy to spread to the public. Looking back upon the society transformation and development in 20th century of China, the key point is to motivate people involving in social revolution and construction, which is a huge task and needs national mobilization. Thus, it is an inevitable trend for revolutionary party to select realism art as tool and approach to unite and educate people. The crucial part is how to understand realist. As mentioned above, the interpretation and expression of realism vary in different stages and different social environment.

KU: The Political Pop trend, represented by Wang Guangyi, uses the images from works created during Cultural Revolution period to reach the goals of satire and deconstruction, and why artists prefer to expressing their attitudes towards politics, society through deconstructing or transforming the works of realism?

XU: It can be regarded as diverting and reinterpreting the political symbols of Cultural Revolution, decomposing and recombining the distinctive symbols that time. It is hard to tell whether it is diverting realism works or it is redefining them. It will result in different interpretations to the works for it involves the pertinences of reality.

KU: Whether the context of reality criticism will encounter restriction, and can we wash dirty linen in public? For instance, artists who draw their themes from political and social issues bring some domestic subjects to international context for exhibition and criticism. Some people regard them as solider while other people treat them as clown, what do you think of that?

XU: Criticisms on realistic issues will meet with restriction. For artists with individuality, they can choose their angle of view and expression method. You can judge that the works of an artist are good or not, but clown is another standard of assessment, which I don’t think it is a scale for artistic criticism. Artists have the right to express individuality, but whether it is good or not, and people can accept it or not, it is waiting for the assessment of history.

KU: Nobody can get rid of the impact of social environment, and artists are the mouthpiece of times. How do you think of the artists born after 1980?

XU: Some artists born after 1980 have been included in the exhibitions I planned, and I think some of them are great. They have their own viewpoints on history and reality, they absorb various resources in expressions, and besides, they also pay attentions on the context of fine arts history. Generally speaking, it is obvious that they have a long way to go. People cannot learn from and understand the history in a short time. Based on their insights to history, they will constantly create their own artistic value, and thus, it needs time to become a true master. It is crucial that whether they can hold on, whether they can get rid of the control of market and fashion, and whether they can keep thinking and questioning. In my opinion, to be a true reflector of contemporary issues, it is essential for Chinese artists to be critical, or they will be overwhelmed in market, and there will be no hope. 

KU: The artists born after 1980 emphasize self realization and inner realization, and self examination is also an expression of contemporary realism spirit. How do you think of this cultural phenomenon? Can you tell the historical reasons behind?

XU: Realism has two basic characteristics, one is expressing reality truly and the other is expressing oneself truly. Thus, true expression of oneself is also an aspect of realism and it is impossible for oneself to divorce from social context, because social issues can stimulate artists, who will express the stimulus in the form of emotions. To express the emotion more clearly, being more powerful and more infective is also a scale of assessment. Form the aspect of realism, art itself is expressed by individuals, reality of course is not exactly the same in the mind of individual, and painters are unable to express the reality in one viewpoint. Thus, realism definitely is individual or personal expression.

KU: How will realism keep developing under in context of China?

XU: For realism, we shall also keep reflecting what the realism art status looks like in China, whether there are specific expression problems? I think we must make observation and judgment based on reflection. Without reflection, there will be no construction. If looking back upon the three different statuses of realism art in China mentioned above, we can see the distance between actual existed realism art and the realism art we should have. We can continue the discussion, and every artist can put forward their recognition by reflecting this problem. As long as they obtain the answer, their works will come along and we will see the result of this answer. The premise is performing historic reflection.

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